Home and Cottage Design


How it Works:


Over the years, thousands of customers have received the benefit of our design department. We have a setup whereby we can design a set of plans that are correct, detailed, ready for the contractor to build by. As we are fundamentally in planthe building supply business, we are aware of new products and changing building codes. We charge a nominal    fee (much less than architects) for this service but if you agree to purchase the majority of the materials for the project from us, the fee is fully refunded. Check with our design    specialists for the details on this program. Our designers are certified by the Province of Ontario for designing homes and cottages. We primarily work in the Haliburton County area but we can sometimes make arrangements  outside of our area. We can also recommend contractors for your job if you wish. See our referrals page.We have the technology to e-mail your plans to save you trips to the store if you wish as well.

Below, you will find the building types that may interest you. For regulations and important local contacts , scroll to the bottom of the page.

Custom Cottage Designs


Due to the fact that we are in the heart of cottage country, many of our designs are for cottages. Most of our customers want a view of the waterfront and we work with the clients in this regard. For sample designs, click here to view elevations and floor plans.The plans are in .pdf format so you can zoom in as much as you want. For photographs of some of our jobs, click here. Read below for regulations and important contacts for our company and municipal governments.




Custom Home Designs


Our designers can create the home of your dreams! Most of our clients have an idea of what they want and they just need someone to make it happen! We suggest that you make an appointment with one of our designers to start the process. It is not unusual for customers to be working a year or so ahead of their construction schedule. For sample home designs, click here to view elevations and floor plans. For a peek at our photo gallery, click here and then choose "Homes". Scroll below for regulations and important contacts for our company and municipal governments.



Custom Additions


cottageSometimes, the best way to increase the enjoyment of your property is to add an addition. This is not always an easy task. Our designers have a lot of experience with roof lines, setbacks and load capacities. Call our office and set up an appointment to discuss your needs. We can recommend local contractors to do the job as well.




Bunkie Plans


bunkieWe have a large assortment of bunkie plans available for viewing in a .pdf format. This means that you can zoom in on the plan if you wish and you can print it out. We design bunkies for the Ontario, Canada marketplace. If you plan on building a bunkie, building restrictions in your area need to be looked into. We can supply a set of plans for a reasonable fee. Contact one of our designers (at the bottom of the page) to discuss your needs.






Garage Plans


garageWe are proud to display a large selection of garage plans for your viewing. We also have a few designs on our Photo Gallery page. Call us or drop in to see one of our designers. They can design a garage that suits your needs.




Deck Plans


Our staff can draw up a deck plan that will meet code and look great! Choose from Pressure Treated lumber, cedar or composite. There are also new railing ideas and exterior deck lighting options available nowadays. Visit our deck page.

For sample plans, visit our Deck Plans page. For photographs of decks, visit our Photo Gallery page and click on the Decks tab.





On-Line Plan Selector- (Not Custom)

More than 2000 plans to choose from !




In conjunction with our buying group - Castle, we are please to offer you a selection of on-line plans to choose from ! To start viewing the home of your dreams just click here. Please note that these plans are not acceptable for a building permit. Any plan has to meet the Ontario Building Code and local by-laws. In addition, plans have to be certified by a designer (us) or an architect.






Our Estimating Service




Local Important Contacts

Chief Building Officials

  • Township of Dysart et a
    • Dan Sayers       (705) 457-1740
    • Matthew Aldom (705 )457-1740
  • Township of Minden Hills
    • Colin McKnight (705) 286-1541
  • Township of Algonquin Highlands
    • David Rogers- Deputy C.B.O./Bylaw Enforcement
    • Greg Moore- Deputy Building Official
    • 705-489-2379 (Stanhope)   705-766-2211 (Dorset)
    • Dorset Office     (705) 766-2211
  • Township of Highlands East
    • (705) 447-0051
    • Laurie Devolin

Township Bylaws

Bylaws are passed by local governments essentially to control development. You may be concerned about the zoning restrictions of your property, the setbacks from your neighbour or the shoreline , the height or size restrictions of a building, or maybe the allowed uses of the property.

Township Permit Applications

Health Department (Septics)

  • Septic inspections are now done by the respective municipalities.

Ministry of Natural Resources (Shoreline Improvement)

  •   Minden Office (705) 286-1521

Telephone Service

  • Bell Canada Customer Service 310-2355

Electrical Inspector

  • Hydro One Customer Service (705) 286-2031

Fire Permits

  • Fire Coordination Office- MNR Haliburton (705) 457-2107

Land Registration and Information

  • Haliburton County Registration Office- Minden (705) 286-1391




You are ready to start building....

  • Planning and communication is key to the process. Plan well ahead and research your responsibilities carefully.

  • You will need a very minimum of 3 sets of plans to start. Two will be given to the building official. Sub trades will also require copies. Check them carefully as you or your contractor are responsible to verify all dimensions or omissions.

  • An approved septic permit is required from the District Health Office before building. You can apply directly or through a licensed septic contractor. Two test holes will be required.

  • Allow 3 weeks for a building permit to be approved. You may also need a road access approval from the roads manager. Permission from the Department of Highways may be required if you are on a provincial highway.

  • Know where your property boundaries are so that you can locate your building within the set-back guidelines established by the municipality that you are building in. These vary by municipality. Especially important is the set-back from the high water mark of a lake . It is usually 66 feet or 100 feet.

  • Lumber is a commodity and the prices do fluctuate. Have an updated pricing quote and an anticipated delivery date in mind. As we are local, we can deliver quickly and with only the materials that you need right now.

  • Make sure that special order materials such as windows, trusses, special siding and shingles etc. are ordered ahead of time.

  • Keep your contractor informed and establish a schedule that is possible for all to stay too. Establish a payment schedule for both the contractor and supplier.

  • Establish a clear procedue with yourself, your contractor and your supplier regarding ordering and scheduling .Many times, errors are made due to miscommunication because "too many fingers are in the pie" . One person should be in charge of scheduling deliveries and they should try to deal with one person in our office.
  • Check your loads when they come, not a day or two later when you plan to use them. Too many times, due to miscommunication, materials are sent ( or not sent) due to assumptions and unavailability of the person in charge for the job site.
  • Follow the material list that we provide you and have it handy when ordering.
  • Pre-establish a "house account" with us so that all information and credit details are looked after.

  • If you are financing with a bank or trust company, make sure of their requirements for draws. Funds are normally released in stages.

  • Put aside a contingency fund. You will probably use it !

  • It is a good idea to tell your neighbors in advance what you are planning so they know what to expect when equipment starts to move in. You may need to arrange for use of electricity¬† or access from them on a temporary basis

  • Read your building permit. It is important that you call your building official at certain times for inspections. Permits are required even if you make changes to the structure or systems of your home or cottage. New construction has minimum square foot requirements. Normally, a permit is required for anything over 100 square feet in size. As the homeowner, you are legally responsible for obtaining the building permit. Contractors or the building supply yard can do this on your behalf.

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources will want you to obtain a permit for any work that would alter the shoreline or if there is a chance of soil/silt finding its way into a body of water.

Certification Details


The Province of Ontario has a certification program for Designers. Any plan submitted for a building permit must be certified. Not only is the firm (Emmerson Lumber) certified, our designers must also take extensive courses to be qualified. Each is issued a BCIN number and it will appear on all final sets of drawings. We can also do small commercial buildings.



Our Designers

Feel free to contact a member of the design staff by clicking on the link below:

Head Design Co-ordinator: